I set out on a general season deer hunt this weekend in Utah and had an absolute blast. I drew my fourth choice area which was a Northern tag and was pretty bummed about it until a friend of mine who lives about 25 minutes from the Idaho/Utah border told me he would help me find a buck to shoot. The only stipulation was that it had to be a long range kill so that he could video tape it. I gladly obliged! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
The opening morning started off with a very chilly ride in a Polaris Ranger to the top of a high ridge. We got out and started glassing a ridge opposing us that my friend Dave had seen some nice bucks on a few weeks prior. I ranged most of the open spots on it from 1200 to 1600 yards which would be a perfect shot for the video. But after glassing it for awhile, we saw no bucks on it. Perhaps the snow had pushed them off. So we swung the spotter around to glass a basin behind us just in time to see a nice buck get bumped out of one pumpkin patch and go into some pines.
We quickly loaded up and drove over to a knob where we would be about 1400 yards from the buck when he stepped out. Unfortunately, the buck held up in the pines for several hours and never came out. He probably slipped out from the bottom and went down a drainage to escape the massive droves of pumpkins! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]
So we packed up and headed for another spot Dave knew about that was a few miles away. This spot turned out to be on top of a huge ridge that was very steep and went almost straight up from the bottom. It took about an hour and a half to get my 45 pound pack up that ridge but the good thing was that we were all alone and not any sign that there had been hunters in the area.
I began glassing the huge basin and canyon before us for any sign of a buck. At first there was nothing, but then, I caught movement from inside a mahogony patch at the top of the opposing ridge. I quickly threw the spotter on it and it was indeed a buck!!
Out came the gun, PDA, bipod, gps, rangefinder, windmeter, and my pack for a rear rest. I took a reading with my Swaro 1500 and it immediately beamed a yardage of 1067. I dialed in 17 IPHY for the 6700 foot elevation shot. Dave and his boys got the spotter lined up and the camera and settled in for some echoing thunder to roll across the canyon. First shot.BOOOM. I lost the image under recoil and my spotter said that he thought it went low but he didn't sound sure. I quickly jacked in another round and settled as best I could on the awkward position I had and fired again. I lost the image in my scope again and my spotter said he couldn't see the impact. So I decided to get a little more comfortable and custom fit the length of my bipod for the rocky ground I was on and try to get more solid so I could spot my own shots. By this time, the buck had come a little closer and needed to be ranged again. Dave took care of that for me and I fired a third time and this time the scope stayed on target and let me see the bullet strike into the buck! A few seconds later, a distinct "whoppp" came back. Game over.
The buck tried to run about 15 yards and then rolled to a stop upside down! AWesome! ANd the whole thing was captured on high defintion video!
We later watched the playback on the video and could plainly see the vapor trail of the first two bullets ruffle fur on top of the shoulder as they went by. They missed the spine/shoulder junction by no more than 2 inches! If only I had properly fit the bipod for the first shot I think it would have done the trick but it was hard as the buck was slowly moving and feeding and my shooting spot was very rocky. But it worked out anyways.
So we quickly walked around the top of the basin and down the other side to the buck and we arrived just before dark. I gutted the deer as fast as I could and then we headed back down the ridge to the truck.
The following morning, Dave said that his brother and cousin had horses and they were on their way to come help us get the meat out. I'm not much of a horseman as I have only been on a horse once and only managed to stay on it for about 100 yards before the horse decided it was time for my to get off. But these guys said the horse I was to ride was very mild tempered and she would just follow the others. THey were right, she carried me all the way back up to the buck without too much trouble but it was evident from my sore backside and my Vulcan death grip on the saddle horn that I was not a natural! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
After de-boning the deer and loading the meat onto one of the horses, I opted for the two-legged way down to the bottom of the canyon! It may not have been as manly as taking the horse back out, but I have much faith in my own two legs and sore legs are much better than a sore backside in my opinion!
Anyhow, it was a great time and am very thankful to my support crew and their hard work on my behalf. I could not have done this hunt without them. Thanks guys!
Here are some pics of the weekend:
Here is the exit wound on the far shoulder. Those 338's sure have some power but I'm starting to wonder if I will ever recover a bullet!
Here is a pic of the heart and it clearly shows where the bullet made a trench through it:
Here is some nice scenery looking back at the ridge we shot from:
And here is my support crew l-r Jay, Dave, Kevin:
And finally a pic of the rack back home with the boomstick:
Thanks to Kirby for a great shooting gun.
Thanks to the boys and their horses.
Thanks to Dave and his boys for their hard work.
Thanks to 7mmrhb for a bedding job that handled the rough accent.
Thanks to Bell for not launching me down the mountain.
ANd thanks to the guy upstairs for letting me fill my tag.